Man Rescued From Rubble as Death Toll Passes 530 in Turkey Earthquake

Posted October 27th, 2011 at 1:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Rescue workers have pulled a man out of the rubble in the Turkish town of Ercis, four days after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake decimated much of southeastern Turkey.

But hopes of finding other survivors were fading as cold weather and snow hampered rescue efforts Thursday in Ercis, the town hardest hit by the quake, and other towns and villages in the region. Three other people were rescued from collapsed buildings on Wednesday.

Authorities raced to provide shelter for thousands of victims left homeless by the quake. Officials say the death toll from Sunday's temblor has risen to 534 with at least 2,300 people injured. They expect the death toll to continue to climb as more bodies are pulled from the rubble.

The International Federation of the Red Cross says its Turkish chapter is working to assist survivors, and has distributed more than 7,500 tents and 22,000 blankets, as well as stoves, food and clean water.

Ankara initially accepted help only from Iran and Azerbaijan, which border the heavily damaged area, but has now asked for help from other countries. Some international aid, including tents, clothing and food, has already arrived in Turkey. The first Israeli plane containing prefabricated housing units arrived on Thursday, despite strained relations with Ankara.

Many displaced residents complain the government is not acting fast enough to distribute aid. Despite waiting in long lines for hours, some have been unable to get tents or shelter. Many people have been forced to sleep outdoors with blankets near campfires. But others have been more fortunate.

There have been reports of some people obtaining extra tents and selling them for profit, while Turkey's Red Crescent organization said 17 of its supply trucks were looted Wednesday.

Major geological fault lines cross the region and small earthquakes are a frequent occurrence.